Today several dozen demonstrators protested and attempted to shut down an anti-prostitution conference organized by the Oakland Police Department and District Attorneys Office in conjunction with several nonprofit organizations. Protesters wearing brightly colored face coverings rallied in from of the conference, which described itself as a conference “against child trafficking” but in reality was a conference to develop strategies and increase funding for the policing and repression of sex workers.
Demonstrators, including many sex workers, gave speeches against the police, as well as the broader economic and political systems that forces people to exploit themselves and each other. Many pointed out that the police not only repress sex workers by arresting and imprisoning them, but create the conditions that allow prostitution and human trafficking to exist by upholding an unequal economic systems like capitalism, which force people to exploit each other, sexually and otherwise. Many also pointed out that for over a decade the specter of “child trafficking” has been used as an excuse to crack down on sex workers, resulting in the increased repression, exploitation, incarceration and deportation of sex workers, especially poor women of color. The speeches ended with a call for sex workers to build networks of solidarity and resistance that will allow them to defend themselves and each other and to resist the systems of exploitation that create and perpetuate prostitution and human trafficking.
After about 20 minutes of speeches, protesters rushed the doors of the conference, where they were met by a line of security guards who forced them out of the building. The group then proceeded to march to Oscar Grant Plaza (Frank Ogawa Plaza), where they dispersed.
Several participants mentioned that the real purpose of the conference was to further criminalize and incarcerate sex workers through the advancement of the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Ballot Initiative, coming up in November, which will increase funding for the policing of sex workers while doing little to address the root causes of sexual exploitation. “Increased funding for police will not help solve the problem of human trafficking, especially when the police the prison industrial complex are profiting off the incarceration of sex workers,” said Adelaide Norris, a participant in the demonstration. “If we want to end human trafficking we must first dismantle our economic system, which forces people to exploit themselves and each other.”
Our dear friend and comrade, Occupy Oakland’s beloved Melivn from the TAC Team, got arrested today, Wednesday June 13th at an Occupy Patriarchy action against the H.E.A.T pig conference. . His bail has been set at a ridiculous $110,000. Please help us by donating, coming to court, and spreading the word. We have to fight this racist bullshit!
Arraignment to attend en masse:
Friday 2pm Dept. 12, Wiley Emmanuel, Oakland
Our friend and comrade Melvin was arressted this afternoon at a demonstration against the HEAT conference. The OPD continues their daily criminalization of the black youth of Oakland through targeted arrests at political demonstrations.
Solidarity with Melvin! Please donate as little or as much as you can and we can get our comrades out of the hands of the pigs!
The HEAT Conference is a meeting between cops, city officials, and representatives of various NGOs to develop policing strategies for the sex work industry. This is the latest development in an ongoing crackdown on sex workers that operates with a rhetoric about “human trafficking” that obscures the true motivations and results of this campaign, an intensification of policing, imprisonment, harassment, and control of sex workers.
*If there is anything left over it will be donated to the Anti Repression fund.
SOLIDARITY WITH SEX WORKERS
MEANS PUTTING THE HEAT ON THE H.E.A.T. CONFERENCE
This is What Patriarchy Looks Like:
The H.EAT. conference is a conference of pigs and their nonprofit lackeys to increase the harassment, imprisonment, marginalization and criminalization of sex workers. Fronting as a conference against “child trafficking,” this conference brings pigs and nonprofits together to develop policing strategies that line their pockets while leaving sex workers exploited and disempowered. Pigs and nonprofits hide behind lies about “safety” and “protection” while they profit off the incarceration and “reformation” of sex workers. These pigs and nonprofits neurotically plug their ears to the fact they themselves are exactly the reason sex work can exist. Sex work, like all forms of work, can only exist within a society based on hierarchical economic systems like capitalism, which are protected by the police and patronizing reformist organizations that keep exploited people from revolting. The pigs are the enemies of sex workers, and of all workers.
Let’s shut this fucker down!!!!!
Converge Wed. 6/13 at 1 PM at Oakland’s
downtown Marriott Convention Center
at Broadway and 11th.
Wear a bright colored face covering in solidarity